Simple Wahhabi-style burial in unmarked grave for Saudi king who lived in palaces

Mourners gather around the grave of Saudi King Abdullah following his burial in Riyadh January 23, 2015. REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser

(Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, one of the richest men in the history of the world, was carried in a simple white shroud to an unmarked grave on Friday in a Riyadh cemetery where many of his commoner subjects rest, in keeping with ascetic traditions.

The Saudi state school of Wahhabi Sunni Islam holds ostentatious displays of grief or mourning to be sinful, akin to idolatry.

There was no official mourning period in Saudi Arabia and flags around the kingdom all flew at full staff. Despite his apparent popularity among his subjects, there were no spontaneous gatherings on city streets to mark his passing.

Government offices, closed for the Middle East’s normal Friday-Saturday weekend, will open as usual on Sunday.

While the afternoon prayer that preceded Abdullah’s burial took place before ranks of Muslim leaders, Saudi princes, powerful clerics and billionaire Arab businessmen, his body was transported to the mosque in a city ambulance…

Related: Queen Elizabeth II is now the world’s oldest monarch after the death of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia at the age of 90. The Queen is now 88. (Her mother lived to a great age: 1900-2002).

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